The Creation of Art as Collaboration
Anne Collod und „Parades and changes, replay in expansions”:
The Bauhaus has not only radically changed architecture and design, it has also revolutionized dance and created new choreographic and performative formats. In the mid-1960s, choreographer Anna Halprin made one of the most radical artistic statements of the 20th century in California with her work "Parades and Changes" - inspired by the Bauhaus. Halprin had her ensemble perform everyday movements and changed them according to the situation with simple instructions. In this way she opened up a wide field of experimentation for postmodern dance. For the first time since the 1960s, French dancer and choreographer Anne Collod has reinterpreted the piece which will be presented in Potsdam.
Anne, you present “Parades and changes” as a “replay in expansion”. Throughout your work on the project you communicated with Anna Halprin and Morton Subotnick, who created and staged the performance back in 1965. How did you harmonize your own creativity with that of Halprin and Subotnick?
The process of reenacting – of reinterpreting – was quite a long one and I really tried to find a good distance between the original work and the translation that I wanted to propose for today. Anna had the generosity to let me work in her archive and I talked to her and Morton about their intentions and their memories. I reactivated the memories of Anna to understand the essence and the dynamics of her work instead of only understanding the shapes of it that were frozen in time.
How has the Bauhaus shaped your interpretation? And the new twist you added with the four circus artists.
I like to work with the third dimension, with the whole theatre, not only the stage, but also the ceiling, the walls, the auditorium. The circus artists perform tasks, they are confronted with very physical activities and that is also a link to Anna’s and Morton’s work. Anna said, that the Bauhaus had a tremendous impact on both herself and her art. It is really difficult to summarise all the principles the Bauhaus developed. What I can still feel in my creation, but of course inspired by Anna’s work, is really the idea of the collaborative process. The creation of art as a collaboration and the transdisciplinary aspect of it. I like to give as much importance to movement as to architecture, lightning, sound, the relationship with and the addressing of the audience. They are part of what is happening and also a part of the process, the here and now.
Are you curious how the people in Potsdam will react to the performance?
It’s very difficult to anticipate what will happen. During the mid sixties “Parades” was quite a scandal in the USA because of the nudity that is part of the performance. What is totally different now is the context, the performers, the idea of art, the environment. But the attention to the present moment still creates strong emotions and connects the audience and the performance. One thing Anna said is very important and is linked to the Bauhaus: Better art is the one that is linked to real life by a diversity of persons who are willing to cooperate without having to renounce their identity. The audience is a corporation of gazes. And I think it is this idea of giving the possibility and the space to the people to project themselves as if they were part of our movements.
Has “Parades and changes” altered your view of the Bauhaus?
The performance is a succession of influences and ideas. Some of the theories of the Bauhaus are very tangible for me. Like the experimentation process, the concept of craft and also the social concerns. But Anna also brought something very important to the table: her generosity and her concerns for social justice and the importance of education. Our idea of art has a social dimension.
Lia Rodrigues und „Formas Breves”:
In 2004 the Brazilian choreographer Lia Rodrigues created the Schlemmer homage "Formas Breves". She was part of the Contemporary Dance Movement in São Paulo, founded the Lia Rodrigues Companhia de Danças in Rio de Janeiro and directed the largest dance festival in Rio de Janeiro, the Festival Panorama. Since 2005, in collaboration with Redes de Desenvolvimento da Maré, she has developed artistic-pedagogical activities in the slums of Maré. In Potsdam, Lia Rodrigues shows her work "Formas Breves".
“Formas Breves” is an imaginary place where Oskar Schlemmer and Italo Calvino interact. What connects the co-founder of the Bauhaus and one of the greatest Italian writers?
“Formas Breves” was born from the invitation of Culturgest/Lisbon to honour Oskar Schlemmer with the creation of a trio. At this time, in 2002, we knew very little about this designer, composer and plastic artist, who also has an important place in dance and performance. As we immersed ourselves in Schlemmer, we found common points and affinities, and we were faced with questions that moved us. We came up with the idea of presenting Schlemmer with the Schlemmer inside all of us. Then in 2003 I received an invitation to create a piece from Calvino’s book “Six Propositions for the Next Millennium”. It is a book based on a series of lectures around themes that Calvino felt were important for the coming millennium: Lightness, Quickness, Exactitude, Visibility, Multiplicity, and Consistency. Together with my dancers I decided to make a connection between these two authors. Schlemmer and Calvino have in common the discussion about man and his future and the investigation of the structures behind the artistic work. Schlemmer was concerned with the relation of the body to geometry and space; while Calvino was concerned with the structure of the text.
Schlemmer dealt with the relationship of the body to geometry and space. How has he influenced your idea of a body in motion?
We reduced everything to the most basic, the movements, scenery and light. And we worked on the idea of combining form and function. We were inspired by a sentence of Schlemmer’s: “It is quite simple: have as little prejudice as possible, approach objects as if the world had just been created, not to kill oneself by meditating on something, but to let it develop, of course with prudence, but freely. Be simple, not poor.“
Do you define yourself as a choreographer or a performing artist?
Schlemmer himself repeatedly crossed the border between both. I consider myself an artist.
Do you think that the Bauhaus is still relevant for the international dance scene?
I find it more interesting to see how we can have a dialogue with some of the Bauhaus ideas today, for example: how to think about and to look at the world in a new way; how to find solutions in times of crisis; the integration of arts, how to improve daily lives of human beings through art and design; the accessibility of art and the reflections on the role of art in a social context. But we can also learn from contributions the Bauhaus made to art pedagogics.
[Translate to English:] Abschluss
Thank you very much!
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